Sebokeng skateboarders revamp old building
Sebokeng Skaters turn old building into new skate park
When the only skating spot in Sebokeng deteriorated and became too dangerous to ride on, local skateboarders found themselves with no place to go. The state of their usual central meeting spot, Mamoja Square in Zone 14, had a terrible pavement and the continuous theft of the cement accelerated the damages until it was unsafe to skate there.
One of the skateboarders, 23-year-old Goitsemodimo Paul Melato, knew a plan had to be made. “We were very sad when we had no place to skate because we are skilled and passionate skaters that take pride in what we do,” Melato says.
Along with his fellow skaters, who have been partaking in the sport for more than eight years, they took it upon themselves to look for a safe place to continue enjoying their passion. They looked around their surroundings and identified an old, abandoned building opposite their old skate park.
With few resources, the skaters knew they needed help revamping the building into a skate park. “We had no funds to get started and as a skater that has won many competitions and seen who the main sponsors are, I knew there were organisations that could help us,” Melato says.
He then reached out to energy drink brand, Red Bull, as he had noted its support of skating competitions in the country. As part of its global initiative called Red Bull DIY, the brand seeks to help local skate communities deliver projects that are specific to their needs.
Due to how labour-intensive the project was, the Sebokeng skaters reached out to the LSD crew, a group of skaters that build skate parks around the Vaal area. “We all worked together and I was happy to see the skating community supporting each other and working hard during the three weeks of construction,” says Melato.
The surface of the old building was dilapidated, and filled with heaps of garbage, which meant the group had to first clear the area before laying concrete. Afterwards, they built a double-step manual pad and quarter-pipe that extends into a wall ride.
The project was completed this month. “Our community is impressed that we revamped an old building and created a safe space for all the kids,” says Malato.
He says he hopes people will stop looking at them as “unruly kids making a nuisance” and see them as smart and creative skaters that are doing their bit to uplift the community.